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Monday, March 16, 2020

Canada bans entry to non-residents—with some exceptions

“If you are abroad, it’s time to come home,” says prime minister Trudeau.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 4:54 PM

click to enlarge Halifax's airport is closing to international flights on Wednesday, PM Justin Trudeau announced in his webcast. - CBC LIVESTREAM
  • CBC livestream
  • Halifax's airport is closing to international flights on Wednesday, PM Justin Trudeau announced in his webcast.

  At a press conference today outside his home in Ottawa, prime minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. He says as the virus continues to spread “we’ve decided to take increasingly aggressive measures.” 

The first step is closing the Canadian border to non-residents of Canada with exceptions for flight crews, diplomats, immediate family members of citizens and “at this time” US citizens. How long the exception for US citizens lasts is not known. 

Air operators will be ordered to deny boarding to anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. “If you are abroad, it’s time to come home,” said Trudeau, adding that there will be a support program available for Canadians who are abroad who either get stuck out of the country because they show symptoms of coronavirus, or have to change their plans abruptly. 

Starting Wednesday, March 18, the only Canadian airports receiving international flights are Toronto's Pearson airport, Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport, and Calgary and Vancouver’s international airports. Halifax’s Stanfield International is not on the list. Meaning anyone returning to Halifax from abroad after Wednesday will have to be rerouted to get home. 

Anyone arriving from an international destination will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days, and increased Canadian Border Service presence will be asking arrivals if they are experiencing symptoms, and make sure they know about self-isolating.

Trudeau said that in terms of Canadians worried about their money, the focus is on making sure Canadians who are staying home from work have enough money to pay for rent and get their groceries, saying that details will be announced in the coming days about support for Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.

The latest information says there are more than 375 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with two new presumptive cases declared in Nova Scotia on Monday. 

Trudeau urged Canadians to stay home–but also to stay connected. 

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Come back here or check with NS public health for the latest reliable updates. In the meantime, wash your hands, cover your cough, wipe commonly used surfaces and stay home if you feel sick.

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